Tuesday, 28 January 2020

font specimen

Via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals, we are acquainted with the extensive archives of American Type Founders, a business trust established in 1892 by merging dozens of formerly independent firms for greater clout in the publishing and advertising industries. During its dominance, font families like News Gothic and Century Schoolbook were introduced as well as innovations in printing and letter-press techniques.

express limited

Also known as headboards (on the engine) or drumboards (on the caboose), we appreciated learning about head masters, roundels mounted to advertise the name of a locomotive or special service—an excursion or commemorative journey. Peruse a whole gallery of vintage Japanese rail emblems at Present /&/ Correct at the link above.


Courtesy of the latest peripatetic scouting by fellow internet caretaker Messy Nessy Chic we are treated to the musical stylings of Kolkata artist Rupa Sen through her lost 1982 single Disco Jazz. Read more about its rediscovery and resurgence that seems to buck the rules of viral phenomena at Pitchfork and at the link above.

Monday, 27 January 2020


As Boing Boing informs, the New England state of Vermont (see previously) may possibly join Queensland, Australia in allowing drivers to include a selection of emoji on their custom automobile registry plates (see also) after introducing a bill to that effect.
Counter to the trend of admitting pictograms into courtroom exhibits or the fact that a smiling face crying tears of joy might strike one as something more memorable than an alpha-numeric string in a traffic accident dispute, whatever emoji chosen would be an addition to the identifier and not considered one in isolation. What do you think? What vanity plates would you choose?

diacope and deposition

People—especially those who are disenfranchised—will glom onto any minutiae no matter how trivial or incredulous if they detect an advantage and can imagine how it might leverage their team, but what’s even more surpassingly unbelievable, as Geoff Manaugh ponders and invites us to come along, is the magical thinking with which we make totems and talismans out of blandishing characterisations that cling to the margins of justice and framing policy.

What do you think? Truth and justice are to be upheld and suffer a thousand cuts, and as Napoleon put it “Repetition is the strongest of the rhetorical tools” and the only one worth having in one’s quiver. It’s not just the lie but its dissection and rehashing that drain people’s ability to attend and make informed choices, but we like—need this narrative of the last straw even though for institutional change or preservation, cherished symbols are rarely imbued with the power to affect real, enduring change for politics despite the effect that they have for the polity.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

nipkow disks

With an improved scan-rate of twelve-and-a-half frames per second (over that of the first transmission back in October of a ventriloquist’s dummy’s head at a rate of five), Scottish engineer John Logie Baird (see previously) made the first public demonstration of his mechanical television on this day in 1926 to members of Royal Institution and reporters from his Soho workshop and studio on Frith Street.
His pioneering live video recordings—though rudimentary at first advanced at a galloping rate—and were within a year being transmitted via telephone lines with signals being broadcast across the Atlantic shortly thereafter. Baird went on to invent the first colour television and picture tube, aside from producing some of the world’s first programming.
In the summer of 1930, the BBC—with Baird’s input—selected the one-act drama by Luigi Pirandello, The Man with the Flower in his Mouth (L’Uomo dal Fiore in Bocca) to be the adaptation of its first experimental telecast, the exchange between a man dying of a malignant growth in his throat (il fiore in bocca) and a relaxed business man who missed his train connection and is content to wile away his time until the next comes was chosen for its running-time of thirty minutes, small cast and lack of scene changes. As it was a live transmission, no record of the original exists.


Designed in 1966 by Slovenian architect Saša J. Mächtig, his modular, reinforced polyfibre kiosks quickly became vernacular standards across Eastern Europe, housing news-seller stands, copy-shops, Imbiß, security booths and stationers’ shops—some seventy-five-hundred of the pre-fabricated units made and distributed have grown a bit endangered in recent years.  Once seen as architectural misfits and eye-sores of a bygone era, many were culled but there’s some newly found affection and nostaligia. Joining other conservation projects, Luke Litten, we learn via Calvert Journal, has assiduously documented the remaining and often repurposed through several iterations stands in hope that their legacy and utility will survive for future generations to patronise.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

the wedding march

Originally written as a piece of incidental music for productions of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream around 1842, Felix Mendelssohn’s processional in C Major did not become standard matrimonial canon until when on this day in 1858 it was selected by Victoria, Princess Royal, for her marriage ceremony to Friedrich (“Fritz”) Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia and future albeit short-reigning king—in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors.
The recessional piece played on the pipe organ is often accompanied with the chorus from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin (Treulich geführt but colloquially known as “Here Comes the Bride) or baroque composer Jeremiah Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’s March (Prins Jørgens March or Trumpet Voluntary) to play in the bride. Though the first tune may be the most culturally resonant, the last was used as the signature tune and introductory first few bars used by the BBC during broadcasts directed toward Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II, the march being a symbolic connection between the two kingdoms. For decades afterwards, it remained the call sign of BBC World Service for Europe and was for the Soviet public BBC’s station identification for its Russian language programming.  A selection of the melodies are below: